Winter Blues by swo8 Blues Jazz Photography by Marilyn Armstrong

Remembering last winter. I’m so grateful it’s (so far, so good) been a better winter this time!

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The Americas are being hit by another winter storm of great magnitude. This video is called Winter Blues and is a collaboration with the great American Author and Photographer, Marilyn Armstrong and swo8 Blues Jazz. Too much snow and cold. Trapped in a winter nightmare. Let’s hope it is over soon.

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QUOTING THE QUOTE

Since pretty much everyone has a favorite quote, I’m happy to tell you mine. It is both funny and a good reminder to not always assume that someone is out to get me.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. — Robert Hanlon

What seems incredibly stupid is most likely not a cabal or a plot. Much more likely that it is stupidity or ignorance. Because malice requires intent and planning, but stupid comes naturally.

Not that I don’t believe in evil people out to get me or you. There are more than enough mean people, trolls, rumor-mongers, and ill-wishers. Occasionally, the “bad guys” intrude on my world.

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Mostly, you get ignorance from people who ought to know better, but are unwilling to learn. Stupidity is special to those too dumb or thick-witted to learn.

I use this quote as the signature line on my email. I just never imagined “stupid” would be a potential leader of my country.

Never imagined that part.

TECHNOLOGY AS TRASH

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In 2013, the computer industry declared me obsolete. Irrelevant. Anyone who can’t or won’t afford software subscriptions to “keep up to date,” is in trouble. Adobe stopped selling DVDs of their product and other companies are following suit though not as quickly expected. There’s been quite a bit of push back from folks like me.

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Personally, I don’t mind running a version or two behind the latest thing. Especially since many new versions don’t work better — or even as well — as those I own. I can easily go years without “updating” my software. I guess software companies don’t make enough money selling new releases to folks like me.

Aside from the problem I have with adding an ongoing expense to my already tight budget, I prefer owning my software. I don’t like being entirely dependent on my WiFi connection.

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I remember getting a “You’ve Been Hacked!” letter from Adobe. The hack affected (depending on who you believed) between 38 and 150 million people. All of us have had our personal information stolen somewhere or other. Not only by Adobe. My bank got hacked. So did Walmart, Land’s End, and our local grocery store.

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At least our grocery doesn’t collect personal information from customers. It’s one of the few companies that doesn’t. In case you don’t already know this, the discount cards in your wallet are how the places at which you shop collect information about your personal shopping habits. So they can sell your data to marketing companies — the people who harass you with emails, phone calls, and junk mail. And scams.

Where’s our outrage, our demands for better service and security?

When my equipment stops working — which is once in a blue moon — I call the “Guy Who Fixes PCs.” He comes to the house.  Replaces the broken bits. Cleans out any viruses that have snuck past the anti-virus software. I give him money. He gives me a card with his cell number so if the problems comes back, he’ll come back and fix’em.

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Am I the only one who is in no position to dump equipment and replace it? I’m still in debt for the stuff I have. Moreover, I hate the throwaway society we are building and the mindset that comes with it.

Disposable is not a better way. It’s destroying the environment. Polluting landfills. Making an already profligate society ever more wasteful. We talk about green, but we don’t live green.

Once upon a time, Garry and I were working a ridiculous number of hours and started using paper plates. To avoid washing dishes. After doing this for a while, I found myself washing paper plates. I couldn’t bear throwing them out. It seemed wrong. I rediscovered the concept of re-usability. I had dishes in the cupboard. I could use them, wash them — and use them again! It was an epiphany!

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We are turning into a world of paper plate users. Everything, from cars to computers to kitchen appliances are junk. When whatever it is stops running, toss it. Don’t even think about fixing it. Change your cell phone every six months. Toss the old one.

Somewhere on this planet, there is a giant, bottomless hole into which the garbage goes and it will never fill up, right?

Not.

THE DESERT – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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For the first time, I shot more frames than Marilyn. Maybe it was the air, the big sky, the mountains, the cactus. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the weather, which was perfect.

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I tried not to laugh as local residents complained about the weather. They don’t know what bad weather is, or what winter means.

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Especially now that we’re back home, wondering if the big storm heading up the coast will hit — or miss — us. At the moment, it looks like a miss, but a small change in the wind and everything could change.

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Marilyn has been busily processing pictures. There are thousands of them, so every time she has a few minutes, she fixes up a few more. This bunch is mine. Memories of a great vacation, the mountains, the desert, the sunsets and the sky.

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Throughout the vacation, unbeknownst to me, the camera was on a three shot bracket, so not only did I shoot a lot of pictures, but I shot three times more pictures than I meant to shoot.

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Can you see the shadow of the gallows?

This is not the last you’re going to see of Arizona. Not by a long shot.

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